Where now?

Marina Hyde picks up Naomi Wolf’s point with reference to recent ‘footballer party’ allegations and says, Porn is screwing up young men’s expectations of sex

And so to a vexing riddle of our times. Namely, if six footballers can have six girls each, why do they only want one between them? The answer is actually incredibly simple (and has nothing to do with repressed homosexuality). It might be partly that they enjoy team activities and it’s a kind of extended goal celebration, but it is primarily because that is what they see in porn. And porn is screwing up sex. Not sex in relationships, but the kind of casual sex in which it would be nice to think people could indulge in a mutually enjoyable, non-exploitative fashion. In this context, footballers are not qualitatively different from plenty of other young men, it’s just that being regarded as demigods makes it easier to act in this way.
Several years ago Naomi Wolf pointed out that the proliferation of porn, particularly on the internet, was the way most young men and women were now, in effect, taught about sex – “what sex is, how it looks, what its etiquette and expectations are”. It had a significant impact on the way they interacted. She wondered whether all the sexual imagery around represented the true liberation of sex, or whether “the relationship between the multibillion-dollar porn industry, compulsiveness, and sexual appetite has become like the relationship between agribusiness, processed foods, supersize portions, and obesity”.
No matter where you stand on it, porn has undoubtedly skewed many young men’s expectations of sex, and many young women’s sense of sexual obligation.

Good news for gay rights in Nepal, Uruguay, Hungary and maybe Peru

BBC: Nepal court rules on gay rights
“Nepal’s Supreme Court has ordered the government to scrap laws that discriminate against homosexuals.”
BBC: Uruguay approves gay civil unions”
“Uruguay’s congress has approved a bill which would allow civil unions for both gay and unmarried straight couples.
It is the first country in Roman Catholic-dominated Latin America to approve such a measure nationwide. ”
Yahoo: Hungary legalizes civil partnerships
“Same-sex couples in Hungary will be able to register their civil partnerships, giving them many of the legal rights of married couples.”
And maybe Peru, if you help: Peru urged to protect LGBT youth, more on how you can help at http://www.iglhrc.org/site/iglhrc/section.php?id=5&detail=817

Go Maxine!

I’m so excited about going home to a Howardless Australia. And I might even get to check out Maxine on the local news.

And after all the months of caution, control and campaign courtesy, she is finally ready to say what she really thinks about the former prime minister.
“Mr Howard has always presented himself as a courteous man, a civil man, a man with a great sense of history,” she says.
“But I’d have to say what struck me and what struck a lot of people in Bennelong and elsewhere … was a sense that Mr Howard presided over a government where there was diminished respect for our institutions.
“Be it the rule of law, the separation of powers, or the importance of institutions such as the universities, or the ABC and the CSIRO. And I think there is a message there.”

After months of intensive canvassing around the streets of her new domain, McKew also feels bold enough to proclaim a further, deeper mood shift in the populace – towards a national apology.
“I see this as a victory, importantly, for Bennelong’s people. I mean, consider the name of the seat.
“It turns out that Bennelong, one of the first Australians, who had a very interesting relationship with Governor Phillip, is buried in an unmarked grave in Kissing Point in Putney, right in the middle of the electorate of Bennelong.
“I think we’re on the threshold of something fine in this country. Jenny Macklin this week has talked about the importance of saying sorry to the first Australians. And I know that the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, is very conscious that this be done in a very special way. It marks, I guess, a new generosity in the way we engage with the first Australians, and I would like to think that Labor’s win in Bennelong connects with that generous spirit in some way.”
McKew is not overly concerned with the questions of formal legal liability that have for so long attached themselves to the prospect of a formal apology to Aboriginal Australia.
“[In] most state governments, where the apology has been made in state assemblies, this has not been the case at all, so I think we have to look beyond all that, and be big about
this. It is high time now that the Commonwealth of Australia, in our federal parliament, that our parliamentarians take this step, and let’s hope that it is a bipartisan exercise. That’s my hope. It really is.”

SMH, Chinese whispers that built to a roar

A Christmas joke


The fight between good and evil, an epic battle: Darth Vader and Luke. Suddenly in the middle of the fight, Darth Vader pulls Luke to him, and whispers “I know what you’re getting for Christmas!”
Luke exclaims “But how??!?”
“It’s true Luke, *breathe* I know what you’re getting for Christmas.”
Luke tries to ignore this, but tears himself free, screaming “How could you know this?!”
Vader replies, “I felt your presents.”

A small geek grump with Domain Registry of America and phpwebhosting

I got mail (actual physical mail) from the “Domain Registry of America” ( this week, telling me that some of my domains were due for renewal.
Which would be great, except I don’t actually use them for my domains and their ‘renewal’ form is actually a ‘switch to us’ form. The language is all carefully written so it’s legal, but to the casual reader it’s just a ‘domain name expiration notice’. I think it’s just this side of a scam that takes advantage of people’s general confusion about technical stuff.
Also on my grump list is phpwebhosting.com, who haven’t responded to helpdesk calls for well over a week – so I haven’t had email in *ages*. I’m going to switch hosts this week, I’m just waiting on confirmation of ssh access.

I’m sure the honeymoon will end soon enough, but for now, I’m happy

BBC: Canberra signals immigration move

Australia’s new government has accepted seven Burmese asylum seekers being held in Nauru, signalling a wind-down of a controversial immigration policy.
Immigration Minister Chris Evans said admitting the group was a first step in dismantling the previous government’s so-called “Pacific Solution”.

Chief Executive of the Refugee Council of Australia Paul Power welcomed Labor’s move to change the policy.
“It (the ‘Pacific Solution’) was a failed policy that created great psychological damage to people who had committed no crime and undermined Australia’s international reputation on human rights,” he said in a statement.

Good news for the environment

The Age: Governors take action to save rainforests

Vast tracts of tropical rainforests will be protected under a declaration signed last night by the governor of Brazil’s Amazonas state and his counterparts from the Indonesian provinces of Aceh, Papua and West Papua.
Dubbed the “green governors”, they will impose moratoriums on logging across their provinces, home to much of the world’s tropical forests.
With growing frustration at faltering negotiations in Bali to include programs to reduce deforestation in a post-Kyoto climate treaty, the governors have decided to take the lead.